Jules Thorn (1899-1980) was born in Austria and emigrated to England in the early 1920s. Over the ensuing 60 years he created a substantial group of successful companies operating in the electronics sector. At its peak, Thorn Electrical Industries was one of the UK’s largest electrical businesses, employing over 100,000 people, and including such well known names as Thorn Lighting, Ferguson Radio, Radio Rentals, DER, Tricity and Kenwood.
Knighted in 1964, Sir Jules was a noted philanthropist, who created his charitable trust primarily to support medical research. As a result of his endowment the Trust has been able to commit many millions of pounds to a very wide range of charitable causes.
The present Trustees continue to build on Sir Jules’s legacy in order to fulfil his wish to improve life for the sick and disadvantaged.
“The Sir Jules Thorn Award was my first major grant and it allowed me to develop a broad programme of work in ocular gene therapy that ultimately led to our first clinical trial. This was the World’s first trial of a gene therapy for retinal degeneration and we now have a programme of trials that have all resulted from the foundational support provided by The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust. The Award allowed us to be truly ambitious and to take our novel therapies for treating blindness through to the clinic.”